Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Oman: more balls

Leaving Ann and John wrestling with DVD equipment, we set out for the Grand Hyatt for what is probably the best social event of the year in Muscat, the Thin Red Line Ball.

There were the usual ladies in new slinky frocks, expensive hairdos and nice nails while the chaps recycled the same dinner jackets and black ties, occasionally with crust still visible from the last outing. Mrs M. looked stunning in a black Spanish Flamenco dress with layers of ruffles fashioned by local craftsmen.

A bugle call
signalled the move to the Afrah Ballroom and the start of dinner. The band played music and stirring regimental marches at volumes which rendered normal speech impossible as the waiters whizzed around delivering poached salmon ravioli, beef tenderloin and Florentine Feuillet courses while topping up glasses with smooth efficiency. We finally massacred the cheese table which I later noted appropriately resembled a model of a 19th century military campaign.

The port flowed very nicely and George produced something from his sporren (Gaelic for ‘purse’ by the way) designed to inflict nasty headaches (ask Al).

After the superb pipe and drum finale, it was time for the ladies and one or two gentlemen to strut their stuff on the dance floor to seventies disco-era hits such as Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ and various Village People classics. The opening bars of Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen’ always seems to create unnecessary amount of excitement - last year’s Mama Mia film has only served to whip middle-age people up into even more of a frenzy at such events.

Our carriage awaited in the early hours of the next morning to take us home to sleep off the excesses.

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